Love and Troy
This course aims to familiarize you with the development of a story of love and betrayal, involving Troilus and Cressida, which was told by major writers (e.g., Boccaccio, Chaucer, Shakespeare) in the later medieval and early modern period, against the background of the ancient siege of Troy. To set the stage for this later story, the course will examine a number of stories involving love and Troy found in important ancient classics, such as Homer’s Iliad, its sequel in Vergil’s Aeneid, and selected love letters in Ovid’s Heroides. We will then look at the evolution of the story of Troilus in medieval writers (e.g., Benoit de Sainte-Maure’s twelfth-century French verse Romance of Troy, and Guido delle Colonne’s Latin prose History of the Destruction of Troy (1287) that culminates in Giovanni Boccaccio’s Il Filostrato (ca. 1336-68) and its successor, Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde (ca. 1385-86). After reading the Scottish Testament of Cresseid, by Robert Henryson (1475), we will conclude the course with Shakespeare’s 1601-02 play Troilus and Cressida.
Homer, The Iliad
Vergil, Aeneid (elections)
Ovid, Heroides (selections)
Benoit de Sainte-Maure, Romance of Troy (selections)
Guido delle Colonne, History of the Destruction of Troy (selections)
Boccaccio, Il Filostrato
Chaucer, Troilus and Criseyde
Henryson, Testament of Cresseid
Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida.